C. Alexander and Annellen Simpkins, authors of Zen Around the World, have divided this helpful, overview resource into three parts: the background and development of Zen, its key themes, and ways to bring Zen into your life. At the heart of this path is the practice of meditation, which helps calm the mind.

According to the authors, a few of the major themes of Zen are the movement beyond words and concepts to self-awakening, emptiness, ethics as expressed in correct living, and enlightenment as wisdom's fulfillment. This path can be practiced in conjunction with other beliefs and religions.

The most engaging part of this brief work is the last where the Simpkins focus on entering Zen through the arts. They discuss how virtues such as harmony, tranquility, purity, and reverence can be experienced through flower arrangement (Ikebana), the tea ceremony (Cha-no-yu), poetry (haiku), ink painting (Sumi-e), and the martial arts.